The Future of Facilities Renewal

As anyone who has been in our building lately can tell you, Hamilton District Christian High is an exciting place to be. Our students are producing beautiful work. Their characters are being shaped by learning and by community. The quality of Christian education available to our young people is attracting attention from across the country. And, more importantly, our students are making an impact where they live. The present is very good here, and we believe that the future is equally exciting. Part of this future will involve renewal to our facilities.

“In preparing for a bright future, we needed to consider our context and our opportunities: an aging building, a changing learning landscape, an increasingly diverse population, and a growing influence across the region.” From the Board’s presentation to Membership, November 2016

The process of planning for Facilities Renewal began in 2010 when the HDCH Board mandated a Task Force to look at mortgage elimination, school renewal, and long-term sustainability.

Since then, we have seen the mortgage paid off, an initial renewal project (the Grove/Atrium addition which opened last year), and the development of a renewed Facilities Master Plan.

This plan was developed in light of what we learned from our addition project; the current state of our building; and changes to the Learning Mission of the school. The Board has approved this Master Plan and presented it to our Membership at the November 2016 Membership Meeting.

Here are some of the important attributes of the new Master Plan.

More multi-use spaces will exist in our building, for example, the proposed new entry to the school. This entry will be a more open and accessible gateway into our school building. It will have room for the whole student body to gather and will include places for students to work in groups or on their own. The proposed Music Hall is another such space, it will be able to function as one or two music or drama spaces, as well as be a performance space.

The proposed renewal will make better use of natural light and natural ventilation will be more energy efficient and will consider environmental impact. We are seriously considering LEED certification, which is an industry standard for green building.

While an increase in light and transparency will open more spaces, students still need a variety of spaces in which to work. There will continue to be classrooms. A proposed two-story quiet space will be available to those who would like to work there, and more small break-out spaces for small group work, like those in our Grove addition.

With these concepts in mind, the master plan will include:

  • technology labs, from digital and media to shops;
  • innovative classroom spaces; performing arts spaces; an innovative Quiet Study space
  • an enhanced and revamped food lab and food services;
  • better connections among our athletic spaces; and
  • enhanced hospitality and welcome centre.

All these connected by the above-mentioned entry space. All that to say, it is going to be significant!

We believe that it is in community that we can create the ideal conditions for Christ-centered learning, for the cultivation of character and the development of the five habits of an HDCH graduate.
Still, we cannot separate the learning that happens in the school from the spaces in which the learning happens; our facilities and learning environments can help us achieve the results we desire. This school is not just a building, but an integral tool for accomplishing the mission and vision.

The main goal of our facility renewal plan is to enhance the learning of our students by creating exceptional learning spaces.

The long-term sustainability of our school depends on this renewal and focus, and we plan believing that this will also sustain an enrolment that allows us to bless the next generation of Christian teenagers with a facility that will assist in cultivating their character for a life of service to God.

A Renewal Coalition, which includes representatives from staff, Board, architects, builders, and other knowledgeable and interested parties, is working together towards next steps. The group looks forward to engaging with various HDCH stakeholders as part of the process.

While no formal Capital Drive has begun for this project, fundraising has started. As with our recent addition, the Board is committed to funding it in a way that will be sustainable for this community. Stay tuned for more information to come about the Future of Facilities at HDCH.
Cheryl WebbCheryl Webb
Director of Operations at Hamilton District Christian High